ROSSBURG – In the 40th running of the World 100 at Eldora Speedway, 134 drivers entered the gauntlet, only for 28 of them to step on one the biggest stage in dirt late model racing.
With the feature lineup nearly 21 percent of the entry list, the No. 21 of “Mr. Smooth” Billy Moyer idled onto the track for driver introductions. He started 23rd.
Afternoon rains and a heavy fog had made for extremely fast track conditions with a heavy cushion. With the odds against the then five-time World 100 champion, Moyer began an unusual charge toward the front. While the majority of the field used the top cushion of the famed half-mile, Moyer tailed Dale McDowell – who started 17th – to the front using an alternative route. Both of them used the bottom line, and it proved to be the difference-maker in the final quarter stretch of the crown-jeweled 100-lapper.
“We ran the bottom down there, where everybody else couldn’t really run,” said Moyer, recalling 2010’s rally to a $43,000-plus payout. “We came up through there and won that one. That was the last one I won. There are just a lot of good times and memories (at Eldora).”
Moyer, who has made his permanent impression as an iconic figure in the sport’s storied history, will seek his seventh World 100 title this weekend in the 46th running of the World 100. Moyer’s first World 100 win came in 1991, and he said this one may be his last attempt.
“I think this will be the best one yet to tell you the truth,” Moyer said. “You never forget them. Since I won my first one and through all of them, you just work your butt off to try and win the race. Then you go to the next one. Now that I’m slowing down, it would probably mean even more just to be able to do it one more time.”
Not only will fans have the opportunity to relive the wistfulness of each of his championships, but they also will be in attendance for an extension onto his legacy – a legacy that is timeless, yet at the same time generational. His son, Billy Moyer Jr., will race alongside his father one more time in dirt late model racing’s benchmark event.
“You know, a lot of times there are 60-80 cars at some of these places, and we sometimes have the same heat race side-by-side,” said Moyer, chuckling at the irony. “It’s kind of funny. Now that I’m saying it, it’s probably going to happen here.”
Junior was there when his father overcame the odds in 2010, the year his father also had won the $100,000 Dirt Late Model Dream, emphatically motioning lapped traffic to get out of his dad’s way in the closing laps.
Through all of Moyer’s trials and tribulations – not to forget his many accomplishments – Junior said it will be difficult to imagine the sport without his father behind the wheel.
“He’s been doing it for forever, and he’s ready to relax a little bit,” Junior said. “It’s surreal. It’s different. I don’t know. I wish it wasn’t (it), but he’s not just going to ride off into the sunset and never come back.”
Moyer first started racing in 1977 and has since amassed 814 career feature wins. Being one of the original members of the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series in 1988, he won the inaugural championship and two more thereafter.
Junior currently competes in the series full-time and is in the position to capture the series’ Rookie of the Year honors; he has two series wins on the season with his most recent one occurring less than one week ago.
To Moyer, 800-plus wins and six World 100 victories are still unparalleled to the feeling he gets when his son rolls into victory lane.
“That does something to you,” Moyer said. “It’s hard to explain to you just watching him – especially when he does well. When he’s happy, smiling and everything, it just makes me happier than anything like it was myself I guess.”
Junior is right: his dad is not leaving the sport entirely though he will tell you that “you’re either in or you’re out.” Even when asked about his retirement plans, Moyer has a predictable answer to the avid race fan. He will continue to drive machines country-wide and travel – this time at his own leisure. Moreover, he plans to help his son and other late model racers through his chassis company, Billy Moyer/Victory Race Cars.
“I live, eat and breathe this stuff,” Moyer said. “It’s a lot of windshield time, and you miss a lot of life driving down the road all the time, but building cars is something I’ve been wanting to do. Now that I’m doing it, it’s something to be proud of. I should’ve started doing it 10 years ago.”
With Moyer’s potential final World 100 appearance in the offing, fans are preparing to give him the ultimate send-off. Fans will be packing the stands – usual for Eldora’s largest event of the year – but this time to witness Moyer run 100 laps at Eldora one last time.
Tickets for the 46th World 100 Weekend events start at $24 for Thursday and Friday’s preliminary nights featuring full racing programs capped by Twin 25-lap Features paying $10,000-to-win. Tickets to the electric atmosphere of Saturday’s World 100 start at $40. Reserved seating is $4 more. Children (12 and younger) are admitted free to general admission seating for all World 100 Weekend action.
Fans can order online at www.EldoraSpeedway.com or by calling the Speedway Box Office at 937-338-3815.